Remarkable life of the Duleep Singhs explored in new exhibition

Peter Bance at the exhibition showing the life of Maharajah Duleep Singh at the Archive Centre, with

Peter Bance at the exhibition showing the life of Maharajah Duleep Singh at the Archive Centre, with the artifacts and objects from Peter's own collection, including the Maharajah's velvet Indian jacket - Credit: Denise Bradley

The remarkable life of the last emperor of the Punjab and his family, who left a lasting legacy in Norfolk and Suffolk, is being told in a new exhibition.

Maharajah Duleep Singh was the last Sikh ruler of the Punjab and, after his kingdom was taken from him by the British in the 1840s, he arrived in England - where his legacy lives on.

Marharajah Duleep Singh.

Marharajah Duleep Singh - Credit: Archant

The ousted king bought the Elevden Estate, near Thetford, and for the next century the family continued to live in the region, including at Old Buckenham, Hockwold, Blo’ Norton, Breckles, and Walcott.

Following his death in Paris in 1893, after a stroke, Duleep Singh's body was brought back to England and buried at St Andrew and St Patrick's Church in Elveden.

His son, Prince Frederick was the founder of Ancient House Museum in Thetford.

He saved numerous churches from closure and restored them. He also joined the Norfolk Yeomanry and served during the First World War.

Maharajah Duleep Singh's Norfolk Yeomanry tunic from when he served between 1901 to 1909, at the exh

Frederick Duleep Singh's Norfolk Yeomanry tunic from when he served between 1901 to 1909, at the exhibition in the Archive Centre - Credit: Denise Bradley

The emperor's daughters Princess Catherine, Sophie and Bamba also had remarkable lives and were suffragettes.

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Princess Catherine, having left her home in Germany, took in a series of German-Jewish refugees during the Second World War, saving them from the Nazis.

On Monday (July 4), the doors will open for a three month exhibition on the lives of this extraordinary family.

Artefacts and objects in the exhibition have been loaned from the collection of Peter Bance. Many items will go on display for the first time.

The leather bound Bible presented by Princess Catherine Duleep Singh to Ursula Horstein, the daughte

The leather bound Bible presented by Princess Catherine Duleep Singh to Ursula Horstein, the daughter of Jewish refugees she saved from Nazi Germany, with Ursula's passport; part of the exhibition showing the life of Maharajah Duleep Singh at the Archive Centre - Credit: Denise Bradley

Highlights include the Maharajah’s velvet Indian jacket, his shooting paraphernalia he used during Norfolk parties with the Prince of Wales, textiles and clothes of the princesses, the family’s photograph albums, and personal letters.

Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for communities and partnerships. Pic: Norf

Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for communities and partnerships - Credit: Norfolk Conservatives

Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for communities and partnerships, said: “We look forward to welcoming people to this new exhibition. Norfolk is a diverse county which is proud of its history.

“This project celebrates the life and work of a very influential family who made a real impact on the county, which one can still see today.”

The launch of the exhibition showing the life of Maharajah Duleep Singh at the Archive Centre, opene

The launch of the exhibition showing the life of Maharajah Duleep Singh at the Archive Centre, opened by the Lord Mayor of Norwich, Kevin Maguire, with author Christy Campbell, right, speaking - Credit: Denise Bradley

The exhibition has been organised by the Anglo Punjab Heritage Foundation and supported by the Essex Cultural Diversity Project.

Victoria Draper, education and outreach officer, Norfolk Records Office, at the exhibition showing t

Victoria Draper, education and outreach officer, Norfolk Records Office, at the exhibition showing the life of Maharajah Duleep Singh at the Archive Centre - Credit: Denise Bradley

It will run at The Archive Centre, next to Norfolk County Council's Martineau Lane headquarters in Norwich from 10am until 5pm, Monday to Friday until September 29.